FORMER Open champion Paul Lawrie has added his voice to the chorus of criticism over the changes currently being made to the Old Course at St Andrews ahead of the 2015 Open.
As work presses ahead on a two-phase project that was only announced by the R&A and St Andrews Links Trust last Friday, Lawrie said he felt any changes were unnecessary.
The Aberdonian also told The Scotsman that he’d rather see the R&A doing more to keep technology and the golf ball in check than spending money on altering courses on its Open rota.
“It’s disappointing to hear that the R&A feel the need to change the Old Course,” said Lawrie. “Some of the comments I have read since it was announced would suggest it won’t be popular to change it too much.
“I personally feel it should be left alone and, if twenty-under or less wins, then so be it as all links courses are at the mercy of the weather. No matter what the winner scores, he’s still the best player that week.”
Lawrie, who described a new tee built at the 17th for the 2010 Open as looking “out of place”, added: “I personally feel they should be tackling technology and, more importantly, the ball instead of spending fortunes changing courses.”
Peter Dawson, the R&A chief executive, has dismissed criticism of the changes as a “knee-jerk reaction” but Lawrie certainly isn’t alone in voicing his opinion on the matter. Commenting on the Road Hole bunker being widened as part of the work, Tiger Woods said: “I think 17 is hard enough as it is. I don’t think we need to make that bunker any deeper or bigger.”
Ian Poulter described the changes as “insane”. Europe’s Ryder Cup hero tweeted: “Don’t mess it up. The course is great, just leave the winning score up to Mother Nature.”
Three-times Open champion Gary Player said he believes the changes are “sad”.